No Yelling Buses, Please


In Washington, D.C. America, Bus yell at you!

My friend and fellow Billiken alumn, Kenn Merriam alerted me to this PoP post about the potential new “yelling buses.” As if public transportation in D.C. wasn’t bad enough already. I can deal with the chimes, the train horns that make my ears bleed, “step back doors closing” and even Secretary Napolitano’s annoying voice. I can deal with it.

What I don’t think I could take, however, is more talking buses. I was sure as hell glad to leave those things in the gateway city. They were so loud they could wake you up on the 16th floor of Griesedieck Hall or the 14th floor of the Chase Park Plaza. I kid you not. St. Louis’s Metro even had to turn down the sound on their bus system outdoor PA’s because of the complaints of how loud they were. (According to STL MetroLink’s customer service rep.)

If you ask me, I think these things are unnecessary. First, Metrobus added flashing lights to make the buses. Now they make them talk. Why just contract buses to the maker of KITT from Knight Rider and eliminate drivers all together? You’d save a bunch on labor and legacy costs….

Seriously, though. For an agency mired in debt and poor stewardship, are flashing lights and annoyingly loud bi-lingual announcements going to save lives? Is it worth the cost of waking people up every morning at 5:30? I’d say no.

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